Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Cream Puff recipe will leave your palate gloriously captivated. The Cream Puff Shells are light and incredibly flavorful. I prefer pastry crème as the ideal pairing as a filling. Cream puffs can be found throughout Italian and Italian American communities and bakeries. Sometimes the shells are spiced with a combination of citrus zests and filled with a ricotta cream; they are called St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs and appear during St. Joseph’s Feast Day every March 19.
Choux pastry is light pastry dough used to make Cream Puff Shells, Éclair Shells, crullers and more. While growing up, cream puffs were common in my life during holidays and special family gatherings. My mom’s sides of my family shares many generations of making the pastry shells and crème, yet many of our recipes have slight variations in shaping and baking method. My recipe can be piped, but I enjoy a simple finished shape and use a fruit or an ice cream scoop to gather and form the pastry.
Gluten free baking requires one mimic the action of gluten; of utmost importance is protein in the batter as well as the addition of a gum to bind and baking powder to add rise. I use some Sorghum Flour because of its high protein content and that it has a wheat like taste. Method is pinnacle in this recipe; the dough is begun on the stove, adding a flour combination to simmering water and melted butter. I use a glava (a traditional long, straight and slender wooden spoon for making polenta) but any wooden spoon will work to stir and combine the flour and liquid. I then transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. To temper the heat of the dough and the addition of egg; cut the mixing blade into the batter and mix on low for a few seconds, then mix in the egg and yolk one at a time.
Baking the pastry shells requires adherence to a few steps to give the shells lift and generate a light an airy internal texture. Bake the shells on a high heat for 10 minutes, and then at a lower heat. The high heat forces a rise and creates air pockets, the lower heat allows the interior to bake and steam. Use a cake tester to gently open a very small hole at the top of each puff which allows the steam to escape; turn the oven off, place the shells back in the oven for 3 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Cream Puffs during your next special day. Mangia!
Yields approximately 1 dozen small Cream Puff Shells
1 cup Water
½ cup (1 stick) Butter
1 whole Egg
3 Egg Yolks
¼ cup gluten free Sweet White Rice Flour
¼ cup gluten free Sorghum Flour
½ cup gluten free Potato Starch
1 teaspoon Guar Gum
2 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
Prepare the ingredients: separate the eggs, leave the egg yolks whole and place in a small bowl with one whole egg, set it aside. In a small bowl whisk together the sweet white rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, guar gum, baking powder and salt, set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan. Cube butter and add it to boiling water. Reduce to simmer, and use a wooden spoon to stir and combine the butter with water. Reduce the temperature to low and gradually add the reserved flour combination in three additions. Be sure to stir and fully combine, then remove from heat immediately. Scrape the batter into a mixing bowl and use a mixer to gently stir the hot batter. To temper the heat of the batter and the addition of egg; cut the mixing blade into the batter and mix on low for a few seconds, then add the reserved egg and yolk one at a time.
The dough will be tacky but yet able to form a shape. If you prefer to pipe shells, place the dough in a piping bag. I use a fruit scoop; it is one inch in diameter. Plunge scoop into dough and then place dollop on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Space the puffs 2-3 inches apart. Place in the center of pre-heated oven.
Baking the pastry shells: bake the shells on a high heat of 450 degrees for 10 minutes; and then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 18 minutes. The high heat forces a rise and creates air pockets, the lower heat allows the interior to bake and steam. Use a cake tester to gently open a very small hole at the top of each puff allowing the steam to escape. Turn the oven off, leave puffs to sit in the oven for 3 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar. Remove puffs to cooling rack. Wait until the pastry shells are completely cool before filling. Store empty cream puff shells in a wax paper lined tin or bakery box.
To assemble: once cooled, cut the puff in half and place a dollop of pastry cream in its center. Shake a bit of powdered sugar over the top just before serving.
This Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Pastry Crème recipe uses a double boiler and a mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients, add the yolks and then temper in scalding milk mixture, then return the liquid to the double boiler. Whisk vigorously to create a delicious crème. Keep refrigerated.
Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups of pastry creme
1/3 cup White Sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free White Rice Flour
2 tablespoons gluten free Corn Starch
4 Egg Yolks
1 1/3 cup Milk (Dairy or Soy)
1 ½ teaspoon gluten free Vanilla Extract
Separate 4 yolks and set aside. Place the milk in the top of a double boiler, bring to scalding, turn off heat.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, white rice flour and corn starch. Mix in one egg yolk at a time. Add vanilla extract to the milk. Let the bottom of the double boiler simmer on low.
Temper the milk into the yolk mixture: Turn the mixer on and begin to very slowly dribble a little milk at a time, gradually pouring the milk in a stream until all is thoroughly combined.
Return the milk mixture to the top of the double boiler on a high simmer. Whisk vigorously until it begins to become thick and begins to bubble. Whisk an additional 45 – 60 seconds and remove from heat. Place in a bowl, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap directly over surface to keep a skin from forming. Cool on counter and then place in the refrigerator for an hour and a half.
Assemble Cream Puffs: once cooled, cut the puff in half and place a dollop of pastry cream in its center. Shake a bit of powdered sugar over the top just before serving.
“Cream Puffs” by Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2015
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